Adjunct instructors, who say they make up nearly half of Temple University's faculty, called for better pay and working conditions yesterday at a demonstration in front of the campus bell tower near Paley Library.

The part-time professors, who complain that they don't have their own offices or a clear path for promotion to full-time teacher, have held demonstrations every day this week and plan to be out again today.

The group calls the event "adjunct awareness week" - the first of its kind on the Temple campus.

About 10 gathered yesterday. Organizers said the group has about 50 active members. Temple in 2008 employed 1,584 adjuncts, 988 tenured faculty, and 838 nontenured faculty, according to a university report.

The protesters said they were airing their issues in preparation for their plan to petition the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board to become part of the faculty union at the university.

"This is an event to let people understand the situation we're in," said Frank Fucile, an adjunct English professor, who teachers two courses a semester - the maximum allowed for a part-timer.

"When we do move to a full organizing campaign . . . we want the main body of this campus to be on our side already because they understand that not only are we teachers here, but that we're literally half the faculty, that we're some of the most talented teachers and some of the teachers working under the most difficult conditions."

In response, Temple provost Lisa Staiano-Coico said, "Our adjuncts play an important role at the university, and we value their contributions."

The adjuncts say they earn half the rate of the lowest-paid full-time professor while playing a critical role on campus.

"We estimate a third of the courses, we teach," said Regina Bannan, chair of the adjunct organizing committee and a retired non-tenure-track Temple educator who teaches a course in American studies.

She said the university had declined to provide numbers.

Average adjunct pay ranges from $14,000 a year for teaching 12 credit hours to $19,000 for 16 credit hours, the group said.

The lowest pay for a full-time professor is about $41,000, said Art Hochner, president of the Temple faculty union.

The issue of part-time teachers has been a source of contention at many universities, as adjuncts sometimes piece together work on several campuses to make a living.

Contact staff writer Susan Snyder at 215-854-4693 or ssnyder@phillynews.com.